This chapter focuses on choosing the right Managed Lan Services technology for your network. There are many options available. At the more traditional end of the LAN spectrum, we have several flavors of Ethernet and Token Ring. Some very interesting modern alternatives like ATMs and wireless networks can compete with these technologies. Each of these technologies has strengths and weaknesses. Some of them are incredibly effective in certain situations, while others are uncomfortable and difficult.
Selecting Appropriate LAN Technology
- Cost efficiency
- Installed base
One of my main assumptions in this book is that the network is built for some business reason. It may not be directly related to making money, but there must be some benefit to having a network that justifies the cost of building it. Clearly, the benefits are never infinite, so as network designers, it is our responsibility to create a network that meets the requirements at the lowest possible cost.
The established base is another aspect of profitability. The chances of you building a new network from scratch are slim. In most cases, these are pre-existing hardware, existing applications, servers, and cable plant. A considerably cheaper alternative network technology may be available. If moving to this means you have to bear the high costs of changing the installed base, then simply using existing technology may be more profitable.
One of the biggest potential hidden costs on the web is maintenance. I already mentioned how the use of unmanaged workgroup devices at the network access layer can make finding problems difficult. I mentioned earlier that the principle of simplicity makes the network easier to maintain. Remember, these are not just annoying factors for the engineer who takes full responsibility for operating the network. There are costs associated with these problems.
And this topic brings us to performance considerations. You always want to build the fastest and best possible network for the money. Of course, by "best" I mean that the network is better suited to the requirements of business applications. A brilliant network with incredible bandwidth and low latency is useless if it is not compatible with the applications for which it was created.